Concierge, services and wellness key to retaining employees and tenants

Concierge, services and wellness key to retaining employees and tenants

8 December 2017

Imagine having your dry cleaning dropped off, your next flight or car service booked, and even your child care lined up without leaving your desk.

Enter the workplace concierge, which takes office perks to the next level.

With workers tied to the office all day (and sometimes at night), companies that boast an on-site concierge plus additional building services can attract and retain employees and clients. This, in turn, makes them more likely to stay in the building, which is great news for landlords.

In Central London, for example, where many of the world’s most powerful companies have office space, having the right amenities and services can be a necessary luxury to occupiers whose employees spend all day working inside, reports CBRE’s journal Blueprint.

“Technology companies are looking for people who have a focus on hospitality,” says Erica Stricker, a managing director within CBRE.

“They are now bringing in teams with experience in five-star hotels or boutique resorts because they offer a level of service that will differentiate them from other technology providers.”

One leading provider of reception management services in London offers “unsurpassed five-star ‘hotel style’ visitor experiences” at more than 220 buildings across London.

“With the high-end City occupiers, staff are expected to be in the building all the time,” says Sarah Crockford, a partner at CBRE, the managing agent in many City offices, in an interview with London’s Financial Times.

“A concierge is a differentiator [for potential occupiers], not just on new buildings but on older ones as well, and it’s definitely likely to become a wider trend in future,” she added.

Melbourne-based First Contact, run by former hotelier Paul Schmeja, employs more than 180 concierges across the country, and business is booming.

“Having a professional concierge manage the front desk is like having an IT expert on a help desk: you only have to ask once and if they are really good at their job you won’t have to ask at all.

“A great concierge can change your perception of workplace culture,” Mr Schmeja told the Sydney Morning Herald.

As the staff are all trained as hotel concierges, they understand what is required by the building occupants.

The services range from the basics of booking restaurants, dry-cleaning needs and IT issues, to meeting guests and escorting them to the executive floors and organising in-house functions.

It’s outsourcing what was once done by a range of staff as an add-on to their job, with much grumbling. Now companies are willing to pay for the business to get a high-end, efficient and seamless service.

“Landlords, especially, are going above and beyond what we have seen in the past,” says Ms Stricker.

Providing concierge services can have a marked improvement on overall employee satisfaction.

In Australia, proptech specialist Equiem, founded by Gabrielle McMillan in 2011, offers a range of concierge and tenant-engagement services for over 100 buildings globally — including most of Australia’s largest property owners. Equiem’s Portal, Onsite and Engage services, provides a range of services designed to keep tenants connected and engaged.

Landlords are getting on-board too. This year, Investa launched its INSITE tenant engagement program nationally, expanding its role as an office manager and paving the way for more community, connection and convenience for the thousands who work in Investa buildings each day. INSITE is now managed and powered by the Equiem Platform.

Taking tenant engagement even further, in November, Investa and Equiem also launched a tenant Health and Wellbeing program, in partnership with Bupa. The program allows tenants to take advantage of a range of services, including heart health assessments, meditation classes, nutrition consultations, healthy cooking demonstrations and ergonomic screenings.

The services are supplemented with information on a range of related topics such as managing work stress, family health, positive parenting and exercise, as well as a comprehensive online health assessment too

In addition to improving the work-life balance of employees, these services can reduce employee turnover.

Bronson Healthcare Group, a health care services company based in Michigan, reported a 54 per cent drop in overall employee turnover three years after making concierge services available to its staff.

Ultimately, the combination of a company’s technology and concierge services helps make the best first impression the moment people set foot inside your building.

Image: Equiem